With just three minutes to present his research on 3D printed implants, University of Oklahoma graduate student Ali Rassi has risen to the occasion.
Rassi, a master’s student in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, was recently named the overall winner of the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools’ regional Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition for his video presentation on 3D printed implants – a technique that may ultimately help those with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or other joint health issues. Rassi’s video also was one of three videos that was selected to be aired publicly at the competition.
In February, his presentation, “From Bench-Top to the Operating Rooms: 3D Printed Implants,” won OU’s fifth annual Three Minute Thesis (OU 3MT®) competition, setting him up to represent the university at the association’s annual meeting in March, which took place virtually. Rassi received a $2,000 scholarship for his first-place win. He also won the People’s Choice Award, for another $1,000 scholarship. The runner-up in the OU competition was Puthynan Bin, from the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science.
In his research endeavors, Rassi investigates improved design and fabrication strategies for implants of TMJ in the jaw. He has become an expert in 3D printing and continues to explore the potential applications of modern materials and processes in the field of personalized regenerative medicine.
“It is deeply rewarding to see the breadth and quality of graduate work represented in the OU 3MT® competition. And this year, Ali Rassi’s presentation was the embodiment of why we do this event,” said Randall S. Hewes, Ph.D., dean of the OU Graduate College and professor of biology. “In just three short minutes, he drew the audience in with an engaging and compelling explanation of why he is doing this thesis research and how his work has the potential to improve people’s lives. His success at MAGS is a great credit to him and to OU.”
“In the first few months of my journey as an assistant professor, I was often reminded by my mentors that the ‘first graduate student that I recruit is also the most important one.’ Ali was the first one – and now, having spent nearly two years enjoying the privilege of working with him, I can say that I hit the nail on the head when I invited him to pursue his degree at OU,” said Pedro Huebner, assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering and Rassi’s adviser.